Queens Park Chess Club has formally written to our two constituency representatives, Glasgow Central MP Alison Thewliss and Glasgow Southside MSP Nicola Sturgeon, to request clarity on a recent funding announcement, and encourage investment in grassroots chess in Scotland.
In correspondence signed by all five of the Club Committee elected at this month’s AGM, we asked whether there are plans for a forthcoming £0.5m investment by the UK Government to the English Chess Federation to extend to, or be proportionally matched, in Scotland.
Chess does not currently receive any public funding in Scotland. In the early 2000s, Chess Scotland received a small annual grant from the Scottish Government. In letters to our MP and MSP, we argued that chess is a low-cost, popular and accessible activity that helps people to come together, have an enjoyable experience, and get to know other local people from all walks of life. We stated that encouraging social chess in local communities aligns with many public policy priorities, including reducing social isolation, improving mental wellbeing, and strengthening community development, and presents strong value for public money.
We look forward to developing a relationship with both of our representatives on this matter. Alison Thewliss has already engaged with the Chess Club, having visited our chess drop-in event at the June 2023 Bungo in the Back Lanes Festival, pictured above and below.
We join Chess Scotland in encouraging our Members and visitors, and other Chess Clubs in Scotland, to consider writing to their local MP and MSP on this matter. Following an emergency meeting on 6 August, Chess Scotland advise those writing to their local politicians to: use your postcode; mention the English Chess Federation grant; ask about the scope for a similar investment in Scotland; and write an individual letter, rather than a duplicate, as MPs and MSPs do not engage with standard campaign letters.